sqlservr.ini in same folder as sqlservr.exe prevents startup but no error message or even log file
If you create a "sqlservr.ini" file (doesn't seem to matter if anything is in it or if it's empty) in the same "Binn" directory that "sqlservr.exe" is in, then the next time SQL Server attempts to start, it will fail but it will not produce any error message or even create the ERRORLOG file. The only indication of any activity / failure is in three cryptic entries in the event log.
For full details, please see:
"Cruel Joke: Prevent SQL Server From Starting, and With (Almost) No Indication Why" ( https://sqlquantumleap.com/2019/03/01/cruel-joke-prevent-sql-server-from-starting-and-with-almost-no-indication-why/ )